User talk:Old Dickens

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Thanks for the spelling stuff, as you may know English is not my first language :) --Sanity 00:51, 13 January 2007 (CET)

Hard to tell,usually, but we expect the average Dutchman to speak better English than the average Canadian (never mind Americans.) It occurred to me yesterday, though, that your English seems practically perfect on AF/BP, or here in the internal communication, but you make more mistakes in compositions. Seems odd, but maybe it's just familiarity with a style...--Old Dickens 20:38, 13 January 2007 (CET)

I suppose that depends on whether killing Vorbis counts as smiting...--acgs1

I would not edit it if it was not mentioned a Polish cuisine. I checked the only word which sounded similar (and describing similar concept) and I've checked its translation by wikipedia. In Polish cuisine I've never met other fat then pork fat as "Smalec" - especially that since recently (i.e. 20 c) chicken was considered rather expensive dish and it wasn't common meat. Either way the information was incorrect (as chicken fat is not the only one and at least in one cuisine from two mentioned not the most popular).

Yiddish origin of English makes little change as Yiddish was a language of Ashkenazi Jewish and originiated as some sort of mixture of Hebrew and German with addition of other languages. Probably thay trasfered the method of using the fat with the exception of pork for well-known religios issues. But wikipedia is unclear on this issue (it was so german-sounding I haven't check on english wikipedia only checking the translation - which is my error).

According to my knowledge (I used to learn french and I haven't everything forget I hope) Laissez-faire means literary please let us do. I have met it only in connection with economics and I've never met it in English in any other context. As it is english-language wiki it would imply this conection - however I'm far from being a native speaker so I prefered to ask for clarification. --uzytkownik


I thought "their" was the correct use when the person is unidentified. Or has political correctness been thrown out of the door and are we going back to "his" instead of "their"? --Sanity 19:45, 15 May 2007 (CEST)

Well, that's a toughie when The Author Himself avoids agreement of number at all costs. I don't think you could call it correct, but everybody's certainly doing it (like greengrocer's apostrophes.) We could make it an internal convention - one never knows, do they?

Is the same thing happening in Dutch? You must have had agreement of number, too. ("Your" didn't fit, anyway.}--Old Dickens 21:08, 15 May 2007 (CEST)

There is a distinction in number, but considering that there are several houses in Empirical Crescent, "their" seems justified. And yes, it'd be the same issue in Dutch. --Sanity 22:22, 15 May 2007 (CEST)

Only, you weren't referring to several houses; the subjects were "everybody" and "someone", singular. Nope, you can get away with it because it's PC, or because all the kids are doing it, or (especially here) because Pterry does it, but you can't pretend it makes sense.--Old Dickens 16:10, 16 May 2007 (CEST)
Not only does Pterry do it, Shakespeare did it, Dickens did it, Austen did it, Thackeray did it. It's been extant in English as long as modern English has existed--Attercop 07:04, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately true. The other day I heard a radio columnist refer first to "managers" (pl) as "he or she" before reverting to singular they for one "manager". Agreement of number is pretty much dead, but "one never knows, do they?" still sounds silly to me. --Old Dickens 13:35, 12 May 2009 (UTC)


this is probably bleedin' obvious, but how do you quickly type the slash that you need to separate, for example, werewolves from werewolf, as you just did? i keep having to open another page and cut and paste it. duh indeed, but i just don't get it! sob! --Knmatt 22:06, 28 May 2007 (CEST)

It's a pipe, (Shift-Backslash, just above Return, usually.) If you don't go back to DOS you may never have used it.--Old Dickens 22:11, 28 May 2007 (CEST)

Patrician Bibliography section, check it out. From Pratchett himself, it says that originally he was overweight, and then lost weight - i.e., Pratchett became a better writer himself.

But that refers to earlier books (I provided the quote from Sourcery.) Even The Author seems to have softened his (untenable) position on the single-Patrician theory, anyway. (Remember : Pterry only invented the Discworld; we live there.)--Old Dickens 16:47, 31 May 2007 (CEST)

that was quick

you blocked the spammer just as i logged in to todo. :)

You're up even earlier than I am on a Sunday morning? Get a life! --Old Dickens 14:59, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

i.e. Piecemaker

Yeah, I meant that in physical size, it may or may not be larger, but it is a certainly more powerful firearm. 03:30, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Featured Articles

Just a small question, are featured articlees good articles that deserve recognition (as on wikipedia) or are they bad articles of topics that could be good? Thanks for your time. :) --Beligaronia 06:37, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Typically, they're fairly good articles on important topics that Sanity or someone thought should be bigger and better. Certainly the idea is to improve them, not praise them. --Old Dickens 15:08, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

re: Polish Discworld wiki

Thanks for your answer. Personally I prefer the layout of the wiki, as here I know ho to edit etc. Mayby you could tell me how to start a new one? I mean the Polish one. If of course it is not too complicated. Then step by step it could grow up. noychoH 18:16, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

You're asking the wrong person, here. I'm not any kind of software developer. This one was set up by our admin, Sanity; Death operates the German version (where he's known as Tod), and our sysop Fhh98 seems to be knowledgeable about the inner workings. Anyone can download the program from MediaWiki, but configuring and providing the support is a job for a professional or a gifted and experienced amateur. I just fill in the pages. Go to the MediaWiki site and see if you feel capable. --Old Dickens 19:01, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Career Change

Thanks old man. Very good of you. And yes: it's an awful lot better than dealing with 'em at 6!

They may think it's all over

I saw the dedication to the "stenographer" and thought immediatly of Good Omens where Pterry states (to the effect, I can't remember the exact phrasing) "It's impossible to know what Neil contributed and what I contributed but it was mostly me sitting at the keyboard". The dedication meant for me the first tangible proof of Pterry's illness/embuggerance. Nevertheless the changes of pace and turnings of phrase is, in my mind, not a sharp difference in light of the development over twenty years of writing.

The major weakness of Unseen Academicals, in my mind, is the appearence of several characters that appears as Deus Ex Machina, Lady Margolotta, Vetinari trusting Glenda Sugarbean because of her grandmother, puhleese. It's too neat.

I don't think those are really dei ex machina; the god(dess) is Pedestriana, and on Discworld this sort of thing isn't unusual. There really are gods who do affect events. It's more of a problem that she isn't developed much. She crashes in at the beginning and returns at the end but we're not sure why. --Old Dickens 22:51, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
By Deus ex Machina I meant the dramatic principle of concluding a drama by having an all-powerful character appear out of nowhere to settle all impasses. Normaly this implies weakness of the plot; Deus ex Machina is used as a deragotory term towards the author. There are indeed gods but I wasn't referring to any of those.
On totally different note, it's been more than twenty years since I had English in school; I feel my grammar and spelling is slipping badly --Iron Hippo 18:22, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
My point. That's what it means but those characters don't do that, Pedestriana does. The English is pretty good though, apart from some some spelling which isn't worse than many others. --Old Dickens 19:07, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

I'll develop my thoughts on football (soccer as merkins call it) in comparison to merkin sports but I need to think it through a bit more. In the meantime merkins: Do read Nick Hornby: Fever Pitch --Iron Hippo 01:30, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Agreed about Glenda Sugarbean. But I liked Unseen Academicals, for the most part, although I did notice some slight differences between it and prior books. Most noticeably: slight character changes and heavy reference to previous books.
But Death does actually appear... "Death stood by the well-scrubbed slab and looked down. MISTER NUTT? WELL, THIS IS A SURPRISE, said Death, reaching into his robe. LET ME SEE WHAT I HAVE HERE.." He goes on to say that Mr. Nutt will have an interesting life. TC01 01:38, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Someone wants to correct the recent edit to Death. --Old Dickens 22:51, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

May I ask something?

I am a rabid Pratchett fan, have read all the books so many times that I'm on my second copy of most of them, etc, etc. you probably hear this a lot in any case. Is there any way to get in touch with one of the mods/site administrators? Doctor Whiteface 21:57, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

The Administrator is Sanity. He gives his e-mail address at the top of the page. --Old Dickens 22:05, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Many thanks. Doctor Whiteface 23:11, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

RE: Current revision as of 00:06, 30 November 2009

you misunderstand - I have no sense of humor in the context of jokes, puns, et cetera, in real life. that is to say, I couldn't tell a good joke to save my life. Jokes that can get a round of roaring laughter from any other mouth fall flat when I say them. I in fact possess the approximate joke-telling ability of Mustrum Ridcully on a bad day. That doesn't mean that I can't appreciate Pratchett's humor, wit, and dead-on insights into the core of life around the world. Doctor Whiteface 00:44, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Then I suggest you misstated. You mean you have no talent as a comic. Perhaps even Pterry couldn't make it as a joculator. --Old Dickens 01:00, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
point well taken. However, I stick by my previous statement. I have no sense of humor. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate it.

Oh, and as a different note, I have a slight change that could be made to the fandom page: I've created a Pratchett Fanon wikia at in case anyone wants to add their fanon to it. I also direct them to the Lspace wiki main page for a decent Pratchett wiki instead of the half-assed Wikia version. Think you could add my fledgeling fanon Wikia to the Fandom page? Doctor Whiteface 01:23, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty confused as to whether it's a fanfic collection or a wiki or what, but you could list it in "Fandom" yourself (maybe including a one-line explanation). --Old Dickens 01:44, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Death caption

An easier way to do what? The caption was properly specified in the previous version. --Fhh98 22:15, 26 February 2010 (UTC) caption something without creating the white spaces, or generally put text where you want it without a lot of experimental colons? --Old Dickens 22:56, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
are you wanting to caption something other then an image? --Fhh98 00:57, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Mostly it's to avoid the white borders (JaffaCakeLover was just suggesting a solution available only to Sanity but I wouldn't be able to judge that - there might be a down side). Some other idea might require placing a block of text to the right, just for interesting composition. --Old Dickens 01:23, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Oh, hold on. I may be able to fix that depending on the theme's security. --Fhh98 07:31, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Nope, not something I can fix. The issue is with a CSS rule in the "/skins/lspace/main.css?207" file. The border rules need to be removed from div.thumb on line 443. Typically, you can override these rules via special pages within the wiki. However, the lspace skin doesn't respect these overrides. Therefore, Sanity would have to update the CSS file or update the skin to properly respect the overrides. --Fhh98 07:53, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Bugger. --Old Dickens 03:51, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
We'll see. I sent the info onto Sanity. --Fhh98 16:15, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Looks like it's now fixed. --Fhh98 01:19, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

And all the rest at the same time: nifty! --Old Dickens 01:54, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Power Cables

OK, so there could be also be a Power Cable, Alberta, a Power Cable, New South Wales or even an Elektriese Kabel in the Transvaal... but they'd still only get one page.

I will delete the lesser of the two. --AgProv 20:04, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Why not add your second paragraph? --Old Dickens 22:27, 29 April 2010 (UTC)


To be more specific, I spent seven years developing web applications based upon the ColdFusion language ( think PHP, .net or java but cooler ). Next month I'm moving over to become an Oracle DBA. All this at a Dow component company. --Fhh98 03:08, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

About TC01

Well, from what I've read of AgProv's and IronHippo's biographies, I think I could agree that I'm the youngest of the sysops/admins mentioned- not sure about other contributors with usernames or unregistered, of course. The Tiffany Aching series are written for people younger than me, though.

I spell, or rather type, words like an American, which is almost certaintly because I am one. The only possible exception to that might be when I type out The Colour of Magic, but I usually don't because I let the {{COM}} template do it for me.

I suppose I'll also mention that I do most of my reading these days on an Amazon Kindle, which is not actually that different from reading a real book (other than the inability to open it up to a random page and start reading). There are a few Pratchett books which I have only on the Kindle- which makes it handy when searching them for some obscure red link on the book articles.

And that's all I'm saying for now... Other than the fact that I reply to people on their talk pages rather than their user pages, unlike some people. TC01 22:43, 15 July 2010 (UTC) TC01 22:51, 15 July 2010 (UTC)


You reverted my edit to that page, where I explained Pratchett's joke (his definition of photus is clearly derived from the true meaning of the acronym POTUS). Where do you think I should have put the annotation instead? WLior 07:21, 1 September 2010 (CEST)

Warning - British travel termini are bad for your financial health

We should have warned you.

It seems to be a universal thing about travelling in Britain that the moment you step into the precincts of an airport, a railway station, or even a large coach interchange (Victoria Coach Station in London, or Chorlton Street in Manchester), the prices you pay for sundry items go through the roof. It's as if the very act of stepping in through the front door causes the prices of even the most trivial items to soar by 25-40% or more, where they can get away with it. You are entering a parellel universe or a time portal where, given the usual operation of inflation, the world around you may be that of 2010 but you are being given a chance to experience a very specific aspect of the future - ie, what you might expect to be paying for goods and services in 2030.

A small bottle of coke which might cost 90p outside in the real world suddenly becomes £1.35; a packet of cigarettes which you might expect to get for £5.35 suddenly costs £6.80 (this was at the tobacconists' concession in WH Smiths at Manchester Picadilly - let's name the guilty party here!)and coffee at Tarbucks or Necros adds another 70p to the cost of a cup, or more... and as for buying food...

The sensible answer is - if going on a long journey by public transport in Britain, buy it before getting on the train or coach and get it from outside the station.

The seasoned traveller will know where to look within a block or two of the station complex, and a service industry exists to fill this void. For instance, there is a very good and very cheap cafe just opposite Norwich Station, which capitalises on the obscene prices charged within the rail station, by serving great food very cheaply. There are quite a few around Picadilly and Chorlton Street stations in Manchester. No doubt the London stations have their satellites - there's said to be a great cheap cafe just behind Euston station that makes a bomb through the novel and revolutionary act of selling good food cheaply.

Nobody knows why this should be in Britain.

Arriving in Berlin, we found a very cheap eatery and cafe within the precincts of Tegel airport. This was not unique. comparing the euro price to what Manchester airport expected us to pay for a cappucino and a cake - it was nearly half as expensive.

Oh, and duty-free at British airports is hardly worth the while, as so much profit margin is loaded on the items that you are efectively paying the store owners what you would in tax, anyway. But at German airports...

Methinks we are being riped off, but at least you have a copy of I Shall Wear Midnight.

Enjoy!--AgProv 10:40, 11 October 2010 (CEST)

A word please

You and AgProv were here before that {{welcome}} was created. So was BOZZ but he hadn't had yet any talkpage messages, his talkpage had yet to be created, so I thought I,d do something about that. If he already had talkpage messages, I would have not welcomed him. Please excuse me if I had a mistake. Myrtone@ 00:12, 25 December 2010 (CET)

These things happen. Don't worry! I'm glad somebody's consistently doing the meeting-and-greeting, anyway. AgProv, writing as -- 22:52, 10 January 2011 (CET) Did you forget to login? Myrtone@ 00:18, 11 January 2011 (CET) Alas, yes. A bit of computer bother means I'm having to continually delete the internet cache and cookies, (virus-slaying) including the one that preserves my logon info for this site... --AgProv 23:59, 13 January 2011 (CET)


  • As far as I can recall, you were the first British member here, after a number of continental, American, Australian and Canadian contributors (Shadeofblue was here long before but never contributed anything). How do you suppose that came down? --Old Dickens 03:55, 11 April 2011 (CEST)

Sounds like an accusation...Thinking back... I discovered the Wiki as part of a general exploration of the L-Space Web and I thought "I can do things here". My first two or three entries weren't strictly within the rules - I opened general articles on Douglas Adams and Michael Moorcock as authors who either influenced Pratchett or were spoofed by him in the first few books, only to be gently reminded this sort of thing really belonged under "Reading Suggestions". As I was very heavily influenced by mr Beobaart and Mr Kew in the Annotated Pratchett File, and was a bit frustrated they didn't seem to be in a position to accept updated entries. So my ideas as to all those sly nudges and digs and references in the books had to go somewhere! Then I discovered that 50% of the time, the entry to go with the annotation hadn't yet been written, so - ah well - roll your sleeves up and craft it...

I do wonder why so many contributors here are people to whom English is not a first language - although some of them, I suspect, speak it better than I do. Better than my French or Dutch/Afrikaans or German, I think! Perhaps it's that urge, fairly indefiniable but an urge nonetheless, to get past the necessary restrictions of reading a book in translation, and to get to grips with it in the original language? (I'm reliably told there have been at least four Dutch translators of Pratchett, for instance, who range from "excellent" to "appalling".) This is a big thing on the French VadeMecum site, although readers of Pratchett in French whose English is also good enough to tackle the originals do tend to speak well of their translator. And English humour, the quirkier the better, does seem to travel well... (look at the way Monty Python and its descendents are a cult thing in the USA)

As well as annotations, for me, there's also an urge to mention all those little leaps of logic that connect otherwise unrelated facts mentioned in different books - inferring that because Lady Sybil and Serafine von Überwald went to the same school The Fifth Elephant, and Lady Sybil's school, named in Thud! as QAYL, therefore Serafine must also have attended QAYL. (Which leads to speculation - as opposed to known fact - that Angua may also have attended QAYL.)

Getting the entries as accurate and as complete as possible gets to be a bug after a while... --AgProv 10:18, 11 April 2011 (CEST)

What accusation? The question was why there didn't seem to be any British input before you came along, Britain obviously being the home of the books and the most fan activity. (Daibhid C was also a faqmaintainer early on but we never got any of his considerable insight, either.)
The amazing ability of a series so strongly based in British folklore, history and humor to sell in many foreign languages is another interesting topic, though. P.G. Wodehouse and Monty Python did manage to penetrate the U.S., but I don't think they required the background Pratchett does (and I'm not sure Wodehouse would play in Power Cable any more.) --Old Dickens 16:32, 11 April 2011 (CEST)

Heh... should have said "sounds almost like an accusation... ("you are accused of being British with malice aforethought and lurking in a built-up area of the Internet after the hours of darkness, with intent to perpetuate a Wiki...")

I suspect, to build on a thought, that we English-fluent native Brits have it too easy, and do not appreciate the treasure we have in Pratchett. This only becomes beautifully clear to those who have learnt English the hard way as a second language, or who have to assemble the necessary mental tool-kit to approach the intricacies of British English language and custom. Who is it who said a prophet is never honoured in his own country?--AgProv 17:12, 11 April 2011 (CEST)

Jesus of Nazareth, I believe, but Sir T.P. OBE doesn't seem to suffer that way. Possibly it's just that English people already had a number of fan activities and we foreigners were more excited to have access to one. --Old Dickens 18:35, 11 April 2011 (CEST)

Jesus seems to been right about himself though there... -Marmosetpower

On Vandalism

I don't know if this is the right place to suggest it, but maybe you should close down the registration for a while, fix things and put all articles under protection. That spammer seems to be a bot/malware cause thing, seeing the multiple IP-Addresses.--LilMaibe 19:34, 13 April 2011 (CEST)

Mmm. I'm only a lieutenant, though, no keys to the missiles. Thanks for pitching in. --Old Dickens 00:13, 15 April 2011 (CEST)

It kept me busy for an hour before bedtime. I'm guessing that once O.D. recognised how deep it actually went, it took a few hours of his life that he's never going to get back.So maybe we need to ask Sanity how to install deeper protection? --AgProv 13:03, 14 April 2011 (CEST)

About four hours, but then what else do I do of an evening? There wasn't even a ball game until too late. I know you've killed longer evenings writing stuff. --Old Dickens 00:13, 15 April 2011 (CEST)... Apr. 30, now, was a full day. Oy. --Old Dickens 06:20, 1 May 2011 (CEST)
I sent him an email last night --Fhh98 20:22, 14 April 2011 (CEST)
So did I. He's investigating, but I don't know what could be done apart from general protection and that's never been popular. You only need the roof fixed when it's raining. --Old Dickens 00:13, 15 April 2011 (CEST)
Not to be negative, but this rain could easily be washing away the foundation--LilMaibe 19:09, 15 April 2011 (CEST)

Well done Dickens old man. You're fighting a valiant vanguard action! Good egg.--Knmatt 21:59, 30 April 2011 (CEST)

Funny, I thought I replied to that before (saying I thought it was rearguard), but it's not here. I was busy. --Old Dickens 02:19, 1 May 2011 (CEST)
As you are leading the way in this fight against these A-holes, you're certainly in the van. I salute your endeavours!--Knmatt 11:07, 1 May 2011 (CEST)

Ref apparent new attack of bots - not what it seems. Hi. I went into the Special: New Pages list to look back through all recent changes that were highlighted in yellow - ie, unpatrolled by a sysops - and patrolled them all (twenty or so entries). Three of them appeared to be hangovers from the recent spamming problem that had been overlooked, although I discovered the perpetrating bots had all been blocked. So this is historic stuff - it's certainly not a resurgence of the old problem! --AgProv 02:49, 8 May 2011 (CEST)

Not new, obviously;, I just wondered how they were missed, but there were likely to be some oversights out of hundreds. --Old Dickens 03:09, 8 May 2011 (CEST)


Yeah, I think XEverettBlaked, NLoreenPetersm and AOscarEricksonw are spambots. They all seem to be going on about dating (hard to tell with AOscar, seems to be using a different language) and all fail at using spaces.

Also, I've suggested using the idea of using quotes at the start of articles. I'd appreciate it if you commented, because otherwise I'm not sure anyone will comment. – Harry Blue5 (talkcontribs) 11:43, 19 August 2011 (CEST)

taken care of until the next batch comes in. --Fhh98 19:33, 19 August 2011 (CEST)

Very belated reply to your question

So you may remember you asked me a question five years ago, at which point I promptly forgot the wiki existed...

Anyway, while I may have an ability to remember odd Discworld facts (I'd hesitate to call myself an "expert"), one look at my name should tell you never to trust me on spelling 8-). A flick through Equal Rites and Moving Pictures confirms that everyone else has it right: Necrotelicomnicon it is, making the pun a bit subtler than I thought. Daibhid C 00:32, 21 August 2011 (CEST)

Er, I've just read the Necrotelicomnicon talk page, and learnt a) Terry spells it inconsistantly and b) I've already weighed in on this. I swear, when it comes to things other than trivia from the books I've a memory like ... one of them things you drain rice in... Daibhid C 00:45, 21 August 2011 (CEST)

Long time no see, indeed. It seems to me you're considered an expert around AFP, which is a distinguished panel of judges (beside a few jerks, of course). Coincidentally, I mentioned you recently in discussion as one of the few British originals here and for not hanging around afterward. I think we established Necrotelicomnicon as the correct spelling, despite a typo or a bit of TP trying to confuse us again. Don't talk to me about memory loss: I'm a lot older than you. --Old Dickens 01:50, 21 August 2011 (CEST)

Game namespace

I've noticed there's a book and game namespace, but none of the games (e.g. Discworld Noir) are actually in the Game namespace. Are the games supposed to be in that namespace and no one's gotten round to moving them, or is it that there needs to be more discussion about whether to use it? – Harry Blue5 (talkcontribs) 02:03, 3 October 2011 (CEST)

I'd never noticed there was such a namespace. There may not be enough games to justify it, but obviously it's an option. I guess discussion is what's needed. (You ask a lot: I was still mulling capitalisation of book titles.) --Old Dickens 02:35, 3 October 2011 (CEST)


I'm confused by your comment on Carrot. Either he is a fully rounded character or he is a cliche. He could be a parody on a fighter or a dwarf or something. But if he is, what kind of parody is he? Marmosetpower 15:09, 18 December 2011 (CET)

Several things, as usual: Superman, Dudley Do-Right and all the too-good-to-be-true cartoon heroes as well as the rustic lad with an old sword who turns out to be the 'once and future king'. These are typically stiff, two-dimensional characters, often played as a bit (or very) dim. TP melts them down into a very tall Dwarf who starts out over-zealous and ingenuous and develops into the clever and capable Captain who knows everybody and everything that's going on while maintaining the outward persona. --Old Dickens 15:55, 18 December 2011 (CET)

If he is a parody of so much, is he still a parody though? I can't help feeling that this 'once and future king' stuff is a backstory, rather than a characteristic. If he did show a characteristic it would be denial of his 'once and future King' status. Being a King is not a character trait in itself. Marmosetpower 16:23, 20 December 2011 (CET)

Threshold of evidence

Although I never posted to ABP, I used to read it a bit. I know "speculation" is a scary thing, because while The Man himself tolerates and encourages fandom, fans who inadvertently post one of His nascent ideas might cause the waveform to collapse in an entirely different direction while pissing Him off a bit at the same time. I also see that random unsupported annotations of the type "hey, Granny's hat is just like the one my aunt gave me for my 10th birthday, my aunt is from England, that's gotta be an obvious reference" shouldn't be tolerated.

Nevertheless, where does this wiki draw the line in terms of thoughts and annotations? Do you want textual references and footnotes? I do see lots of ideas in some articles which are, well, reaching. How far can we or should we reach?

Understand that I am taking no position here. I just want to know the rules, which I will attempt to follow faithfully. Moishe Rosenbaum 19:41, 23 December 2011 (CET)

Ah. Rules! Well, erm...I mean, uh, we don't actually seem to have any rules, as such (except against spam; we're definitely down on spam, but it doesn't stop the spammers either). Now I thought of the wiki as an encyclopedia with a pretty relaxed attitude but no room for unsupported opinions, whether called "annotations" or not; most people seem to like annotations better than anything. It seems to me that there's a fair consensus against annotation, speculation or fantasy in the body of the articles. At the same time, though, I've tried a couple of times to stir up opposition to the most outrageous blather and self-gratification (see pages of discussion in the Mended Drum and elsewhere) but most of us seem to hate rules more. I don't know, can you suggest some?
TP doesn't come into it of course. He won't be reading this as he avoids all other such sites; no one ever objected to speculation in discussion pages or user pages. --Old Dickens 00:13, 24 December 2011 (CET)

The great spam flood of 2012

Have you spoken with Sanity lately? He hardly ever responds to my emails. --Fhh98 16:01, 8 February 2012 (CET)

No, not since he put in the sign-up restriction after the last flood. I was wondering if I might suggest the site-specific test but I don't know if it's reasonable or possible. Have you any suggestions? --Old Dickens 23:55, 8 February 2012 (CET)
There's nothing you or I can do without access to the server and code. --Fhh98 19:27, 9 February 2012 (CET)
Sadly. But may I suggest that new accounts have to be enabled by mods/admins to make new pages/edits. I tihnk that should be possible.--LilMaibe 20:07, 9 February 2012 (CET)
Unfortunately, that's something that needs to be done by Sanity. Old Dickens and I don't have access to modify that. --Fhh98 22:36, 9 February 2012 (CET)
Damn. I hope one of you reaches him soon. This is getting ridiculous.--LilMaibe 02:47, 10 February 2012 (CET)

Someone's been upgrading stuff, did you get ahold of Sanity? --Fhh98 16:18, 13 February 2012 (CET)

Yea, he updated the wiki, ConfirmEdit and Bad Behavior and is looking into QuestyCaptcha or similar. I see it didn't stop them today. The Java buttons are gone from the edit panel, too. (four tildes) Old Dickens 23:33, 13 February 2012 (CET) ...and the categories now come with bullets! Old Dickens 23:38, 13 February 2012 (CET)
He's still got some style fixes to make. Like the checkbox labels.--Fhh98 03:04, 14 February 2012 (CET)
And today's attempts were different. It really looked more like a person. Some things were inconsistent. --Fhh98 03:04, 14 February 2012 (CET)
I'm starting to get rather pissed at our absentee owner. --Fhh98 17:49, 28 February 2012 (CET)
It's tiresome, especially if you're supposed to be working, I guess. I have no web access at work any more, so I'm no use weekdays. Sanity is suffering with Real Life too, unfortunately. Whaddya gonna do? I sent him a complaining email. Old Dickens 01:19, 29 February 2012 (CET)
Folks, we just had an attack on the MainPage. Undid it, but someone still needs to ban that bloke. On a further note: As nice as it is to see Discworld related questions for verification...'What is the first name of Sam Vimes' is not really going to do the trick...LilMaibe 07:56, 16 March 2012 (CET)

We noticed. Sanity managed to fix it quicker than he thought he could, but of course it wasn't like the average spammer who could be blocked. The question could probably be a little tougher, but the the thing is that it's a program written to circumvent arithmetic and character-recognition captchas, so it's confused by any other challenge to artificial intelligence. (The humanoids behind it don't even speak English, very often, but they're not looking anyway.) It seems to be working so far. Old Dickens 20:43, 16 March 2012 (CET)...Oh, you meant the other Turk: Fhh98 got that. What is it with Turks lately? Old Dickens 20:49, 16 March 2012 (CET)

Also not every user has actually read Discworld novels. If the question is to hard then real users might be scared off. Besides any spammers now have to register manually which would be a pain. --Zdm 04:56, 17 March 2012 (CET)

I'm not sure we want input from anyone who couldn't come up with, say, Commander Vimes's given name. "Every user" is free to read but I'd prefer some minimum qualification to edit. Anyway, yes, the point is to baffle the program. Old Dickens 05:33, 17 March 2012 (CET)

What about in a case like this, the person hasn't ever read discworld but offered some helpfull advice. Besides there are people out there who might only have read the Diggers books or Nation for example.

Perhaps what Sanity was thinking, and a good point, but it does ease the way for manual spammers and vandals. Old Dickens 14:50, 17 March 2012 (CET)

Well it seems to be working.--Zdm 05:50, 18 March 2012 (CET)

As of tonight there are six very suspicious new names in red, that look as if they've been created by spambots. None of posted yet. But bearing in mind that most genuine new members of the Wiki community are only too keen to get stuck in straight away doing legitimate things, and these new names have been up for hours with no movement, would we be justified in delivering pre-emptive blocks? AgProv 22:25, 29 June 2012 (CEST) Just pre-emptively struck at a bunch of suspicious new usernames and blocked the lot. I'm working on intuition and experience - people with usernames consisting of random letters and numbers are not likely to be people at all but bots. AgProv 23:36, 29 June 2012 (CEST)

Or maybe even somebody called Vintagegown, which kind of suggests somebody's read this note and thought creatively. This could go one of two ways - maybe spamming a site for vintage clothing? Or she (?) might even be genuine, in which case - make a valid new entry and welcome! AgProv 00:13, 30 June 2012 (CEST)

I waver between waiting for them to do something and blocking for 3 days or so as "unacceptable username": feel-of-the-moment thing. Fhh98's note to the Mexican pharmaceutical people didn't work for long. I see. See also the clever-dick TeddyAv. Old Dickens 01:02, 30 June 2012 (CEST) (Oh yeah. The other thing is that I'm pretty sure they're not reading anything in their discussion pages.) Old Dickens 01:17, 30 June 2012 (CEST)

(Here begins a new administration)

You should be able to delete users now by going to the users page and selecting the Delete tab from the dropdown in the upper right. --Osiris (talk) 18:24, 5 November 2012 (PST)

Kowabunga! --Old Dickens (talk) 18:29, 5 November 2012 (PST)...but I can't: I don't see the dropdown either in the User's page or in the User list. --Old Dickens (talk) 18:48, 5 November 2012 (PST)
Try Again. --Osiris (talk) 19:05, 5 November 2012 (PST)
Aha. --Old Dickens (talk) 14:40, 6 November 2012 (PST)

Interesting event

WikiShaper334 - I can't fathom this one out either.... on the face of it a legitimate entry, which is why the user remains, for now, unmerged. But the entry itself is fairly banal and unoriginal; the sort of thing that can be quickly deduced from a skimming of the rest of the article. The thought has occured to me that this could be a new tactic from somebody behind the spambots, to establish a legitimate presence here that will enable them to launch new spam attacks through the opening. Or am I being paranoid? I did a bit of Googling and atraffic shaper is apparently a person, or automated software, seeking to order traffic onto a website so as to manipulate data - one use is to bump preferred links up a search engine. "Link-shaping" or "link-blogging" specifically targets blogs and Wikis so as to insert links that push favoured sites up a search engine listing. And adding a number after the name.... could be coincidence. But how can we prove or rule this out for certain? AgProv (talk) 20:01, 3 February 2013 (GMT)

Of course we can't, just now. It's hard to believe an SEO parasite keen enough to go through that, but also hard to believe the username. Either we'll delete him when he gets down to business or he'll fade away. --Old Dickens (talk) 20:31, 3 February 2013 (GMT)

00:14 GMT. Is it me, or have we had no spammers since 17:21 - nearly nine hours ago. I don't like it, sergeant. It's far too quiet. They're up to something out there...AgProv (talk) 00:16, 4 February 2013 (GMT)

They will come in bunches, but then Osiris could be tinkering... --Old Dickens (talk) 00:21, 4 February 2013 (GMT)
(The next one arrived two hours later. --Old Dickens (talk) 02:07, 4 February 2013 (GMT))
I'm tinkering.... I put in a blacklist of words and phrases. For example, try to make an edit using that Justin guy's last name and you'll see it's not allowed. --Osiris (talk) 05:16, 4 February 2013 (GMT)
Is there a way to make it so that known users can use the blacklisted words/know what they are?--Zdm (talk) 06:01, 4 February 2013 (GMT)
when you hit one it tells you what it was. It's based upon this example though. $wgSpamRegex

Re: Johnny Maxwell

Oh, sorry. Should I get rid of it? Drakon467 (talk) 16:57, 13 May 2013 (GMT)

I did already. Twice, actually. --Old Dickens (talk) 21:33, 13 May 2013 (GMT)

I've replaced it with a less guesswork-dependant one. Is it okay this time? Drakon467 (talk) 18:39, 2 July 2013 (GMT)

Thanks. Rest assured, Yo-less definitely did say it. Of course, this being a Terry Pratchett book, it lost under accusations of Satanism and how Yo-less's mother wouldn't approve. Drakon467 (talk) 05:37, 3 July 2013 (GMT)

Junk page

Apologies if there is a better place for this, but this seems a bit out of place. Girls Dont Abide By The Rules. I did try blanking it, but alas I can't make it disappear. Aldibibable (talk) 22:53, 31 May 2013 (GMT)

Create page permissions

There seems to be an issue with permissions regarding creating pages as I don't seem to have that option today. Yesterday I had the option but not today. Is there an issue with permissions? Is it just me being a newbie here or are there times when things work only when they feel like it? It seems quite sporadic and most peculiar. --CelticWanderer  talk | contribs | email 22:48, 8 June 2013 (GMT)

I've also had trouble with permissions for the last few days, as I mentioned in the Mended Drum. Have you tried going back and trying again? I've found that the error messages aren't necessarily final. Otherwise you'd have to ask the man behind the curtain. --Old Dickens (talk) 23:28, 8 June 2013 (GMT)
I noticed your comment the other day. Yes, I have tried several times but with no luck. When trying to create an additional user subpage I get the generic response:
There is currently no text in this page. You can search for this page title in other pages, or search the related logs, but you do not have permission to create this page.
Yesterday, it didn't say this. When trying to create a page in the main namespace there's no create page tab and I get the generic search response when there are no results:
There were no results matching the query.
A curious case that I hope is resolved soon. Out of curiosity what roles do the different admins serve on this site just so I know for future reference? --CelticWanderer  talk | contribs | email 23:44, 8 June 2013 (GMT)
Osiris is the owner/operator, I'm the Editor Quia Nemo Vult (housekeeper?) and AgProv has been the major content provider for many years. (Also, your sig really fills up the edit box!) --Old Dickens (talk) 00:56, 9 June 2013 (GMT)
Ok, thanks. I was curious as you are shown as the creator in the active user list. Regarding the signature, methinks that is a hint to change it. I actually still need to create another sig page for transclusion that should fix this but I still can't create new pages. If it doesn't work when the permissions are fixed I will change the signature if you prefer. --CelticWanderer  talk | contribs | email 08:34, 9 June 2013 (GMT)
Osiris changed the permissions for me so now everything seems to be working at the moment. Also, I have changed my signature, takes up less much space in the editor and made it less distracting. --CelticWanderer  talk | contribs | email 21:58, 9 June 2013 (GMT)

Mass Deletions - a double-edged sword

There's got to be a better way... I'm ashamed to say while I've deleted a thousand spam accounts, two legitimate users have been deleted in error too, in the last week. And in the last month three thousand spam accounts have been created and are yet to be dealt with. That error rate is just too high (I've left fulsome apologies where I hope they'll be seen. Wish I had their email addresses so I could apologise in person. are these stored anywhere?) While I've cleared out all the spam accounts beginning with "A" and a good few of the "B"'s - as well as routine demolition of new ones as they pop up - I'm now hideously aware that mistakes will inevitably happen and I do not want to make any more. So tonight I've just identified a few known legitimate users who still have to make an entry on their user pages and left temporary messages there, so they show up blue in the user list and are less likely to be deleted in error. but there has to be a better way around this. Otherwise I'd keep on zapping through the B's...

It ain't that bad, really. Sharlee figured it out immediately; if Aldibibable is also on Wikipedia he(?) is probably capable too. Generally, though, I'd rather prod Osiris (after a decent interval to recover from his shock) to execute his script to remove all the dormant accounts at computer speed. A problem with your valiant efforts at doing it manually is that the rest of us (especially me) can't see what else has happened in "Recent changes", even at 500 lines. --Old Dickens (talk) 01:37, 22 June 2013 (GMT)

List of Characters

Not done, just for the day. Can change back if need be, have saved original on my computer. Rictus


Enjoy! I'll try not to post too many jaw-dropping spoilers.AgProv (talk) 23:10, 14 November 2013 (GMT)

User: Netterku, possible spammer

Please check out User:Netterku, as I suspect he may be a spammer who has got through the net. Inept, as it's in Indonesian, which I speak as fluently as Vimes speaks Dwarfish (in fact, Vimes is native fluent compared to me). But interesting, in that the spamming sems to be arranged differently and not to the old well-known pattern. If you agree, and the user has not responded to my yellow card warning, shall we block? AgProv (talk) 08:26, 25 November 2013 (GMT)

No need for discussion: I did. --Old Dickens (talk) 22:41, 25 November 2013 (GMT)


User:AgustinSnider‎;Spambot? Noted this user made an account on 31st August but has only "introduced themself" now. The wording of the introduction is also horribly familiar, although the declared location checks out. But no actual spam, as yet? Shall I delete, or will you? AgProv (talk) 10:11, 6 December 2013 (GMT)

Yes, I seemed to remember the "Agustin" and the mismatched name and poor spelling are depressingly familiar, but I don't see actual grounds for merging. Inquire, if you like, but it can wait for an actual offence. --Old Dickens (talk) 14:42, 6 December 2013 (GMT)
offense committed. Goodbye! --Osiris (talk) 04:00, 9 December 2013 (GMT)
Good shot,sir! --Old Dickens (talk) 01:39, 10 December 2013 (GMT)

Mine's a Boy

Congratulations to you and your family. Mine's a boy and he's coming today! Don't expect to see me much for a while. --Osiris (talk) 12:14, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Good on ya, mate (or more so the wife)! No, you'll be busy for a few years as I recall. I hope we can raise you in an emergency. --Old Dickens (talk) 13:53, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

BS, regarding your userpage post...

Old Dickens, thanks for the Independence Day wishes from this American. I'm hoping that recent developments in GB remind American rationalists not to take anything for granted re the man with Orange Hair.

On that note, a few days ago Rhianna Pratchett retweeted someone's suggestion to her that henceforth, in honor of Terry, Boris Johnson shall be known as "Bloody Stupid" Johnson. -- Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 22:54, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

Hee Hee. I should have thought of that one myself. Good luck in November; we're at least as interested as the Mexicans here in the Great White North. --Old Dickens (talk) 00:43, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
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